Plans to transform Burnley mosque into flats raise ‘ghetto’ fears

A vacant unauthorised mosque in Burnley is set to become four flats for vulnerable people despite neighbour’s fears it could create “unapproachable ghetto”.

The premises on the corner of Burns Street and Belford Street Stoneyholme are an unusually shaped end terrace building.

Formerly used as a mosque without planning permission they were originally two homes.

Now the place of worship has been vacated, and Dorset-based A J Cole Properties Limited wants to turn the building into four one-bedroom flats.

The property in Burns Street, Burnley.

A planning officer’s report recommends Burnley Council’s development control committee to approve the scheme when it meets on Thursday.

This is despite three objections from nearby residents one of which says: “Unsuitable tenants would create an ‘unapproachable ghetto.”

The officer says: “The property is a two-storey, unusually shaped end-terrace building of traditional stone and blue slate construction, with its front elevation facing Burns Street.

“The property has a single storey extension of indeterminate age that occupies all of what would have been the external yard area.

“Until recently the property was used as a mosque, albeit without the benefit of planning permission.

“The attached property (66 Belford Street) is currently used as an ‘advice centre’, again without the benefit of planning permission.

“It is proposed to convert the building into four self-contained flats, two on either floor.

“All flats to have a separate access and separate, self-contained kitchen and bathroom facilities.

“External alterations are restricted to creation of a new window at ground-floor level to serve the kitchen of Flat One. This window is notated as ‘obscure glazed’.

“The Design and Access Statement describes the intended tenure as ‘supported housing for vulnerable people’.

“It also states that doors and windows will be replaced, and that general repairs will be undertaken in addition to the conversion works.

“The property was last used as a mosque. This use ceased following the recent opening of a purpose-built mosque within walking distance.

Three letters of objection were received, the main points being:

- potential for increased noise and disturbance;- potential parking issues;- potential for an increase in crime;- potential for anti-social behaviour: and- the building should be used as a family home instead of flats.